Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange REUTERS

Futures on major U.S. stock indices point to a modestly higher opening on Tuesday ahead of a wave of economic data including the US Federal Open Market Committee statement (FOMC).

Futures on the S&P 500 are up 0.15 percent, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are up 0.11 percent and Nasdaq100 futures are up 0.11 percent.

Investors are likely to stay glued to the FOMC meeting and interest rate decision, which is due to be released at 2:15 pm EDT. The interest rate is expected to remain unchanged at 0.25 percent.

Investors are likely to focus on what the Fed will say about the developments in the economy, from the tax-cut effects to the decision whether to extend QE beyond $600 billion.

The U.S. Senate on Monday passed, 83 to 15, a procedural measure that allows the Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010 to come to the Senate floor for a vote. The measure also allows a limited time for debate before the vote, which could take place later this week.

Other economic data including Producer Price Index (PPI) and monthly retail sales are due to be released before the market opens, while reports on business inventories and ABC/Washington Post Consumer Confidence Index will be released after the markets open.

The Commerce Department is expected to show a 0.5 percent growth in retailer sales during November compared to 1.2 percent increase in the previous month. Core retail sales, excluding auto, is expected to gain 0.6 percent in November from a 0.4 percent gain in the last month.

On Monday, US stocks climbed for most of the day as investors anticipated the results of a Senate vote on the proposed extension of the Bush tax cuts, but a late-day sell-off pushed the major equity indices to session lows, resulting in a mixed performance for stocks.

The euro advanced 0.61 percent to 1.3473 against the dollar and the yen gained 0.47 percent against the greenback.

Crude oil futures advanced 0.05 percent to $88.65/barrel and gold futures advanced 0.62 percent.

European stock markets are currently trading mixed with FTSE100 up by 4.13 points, DAX30 down by 5.65 points and CAC 40 down by 3.15 points.